In the Hunter/Gatherer section of Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan talks about what it takes to accomplish the task of developing a meal on his own; consequently, the people of today’s society are so used to the abundance of food that they have no idea what all is involved in establishing a full meal. Americans take this great abundance of food for granted, which causes an increased craving for more. This is where the world of advertisement has been the strongest.
One of the easiest ways to reach people is through their food; therefore, major food industries try to lure people in at all costs just to buy their products. The Fast food industry is the ringleader of all this trickery. They try their best to make people believe that their food is the best on the market, and in this process they hide several of their flaws with a beautiful or very appealing advertisement. The creation of an advertisement has been broken down into a specific science where the creator of the advertisement can specifically pinpoint the targeted audience’s interests.
The advertisement of industrial foods has become a major weakness in the American culture; consequently, the factors of this weakness come from the inability for omnivores to make the right decision on what to eat, whether or not the food is good for them, the lack of courtesy for others and themselves, and the failure to see through the pretty colors and the attractive facade advertisements display. One example of this corruption of food culture can be viewed in a simple Carl’s Jr. ad.
In this advertisement, there is depicted a hamburger and few lines of text, but the simplicity of this ad is what makes it all the more deceiving. The creator of this ad uses several pictorial techniques in order to captivate anyone that may see it. First of all, the colors in the hamburger are brilliant and eye-catching such as: the perfect golden color of the sesame seed bun; the bright yellow of the cheese between two layers of perfectly charbroiled beef patties; the vibrant red of the ketchup; and the perfectly fresh look of the tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. This ad rives its viewers to believe that this hamburger is ideal and seems almost tangible. As though the brilliant colors of the hamburger was not enough, the creator of this ad uses a black background in order to illuminate all the hamburger’s superlative attributes. As the ad is further examined, the three line of white, bolded text is inescapable, especially on the black background. Another way the advertiser attracts the viewer is through the positioning of the ad on the poster, billboard, etc. Here in this particular ad, the picture has almost perfect axial balance.
This means that the main focus of the ad, the burger, is the central item of the whole ad, and this is definitely the first thing the advertiser wants his viewers to see. Another thing about the orientation of the picture is almost looks three-dimensional. The advertiser does this so that the viewer can get as close to the burger without smelling it or tasting it as possible. The next biggest thing on the advertisement is the catchy phrase that is in a special font and size that is the next thing that catches the eye. The ambience in the Carl’s Jr. dvertisement is that of a bold hunger and also casually crude. This mood is set not only by the picture but also by what the words imply. The phrase printed on the ad, “ She’ll tell you size doesn’t matter. She’s lying” is an old joke that is crude and degrading for women. Here, in an underlying way, women are itemized and they are seen as some kind of prize instead of a human being. Not only does the text degrade women but also men. It degrades men in that the creator of this advertisement thinks that all men walk around thinking about sex all the time.
Unfortunately, this is probably true, and it is a pretty “low blow” to take advantage of such a serious weakness. Pollan states that one of the omnivore’s frequently asked question is “What should we do for dinner” (1). When searching for the answer, people will seek it anywhere, and sadly, many fall into the vulgarity of this ad. Pollan explains this notion when he says, “When you can eat just about anything nature has to offer, deciding what you should eat will inevitably stir anxiety, especially when some of the potential foods on offer are liable to kill you” (3).
Although a hamburger may not kill someone, the insinuation of sex in the ad can drag people down to the nasty greasy level of the burger. Although this ad is crude and misleading, the creator of it uses pathos, ethos and logos very well in order to reach a future consumer. The pathos, or emotion, that the advertiser sets through his ad is that of sex and pride. Both of these are not actually stated in the ad, but these are the emotions that take place when the ad is comprehended. The creator of this ad has a certain target, and that target is any man over the age of thirteen.
He uses their greatest weakness, their sex drive, to lure them I to wanting one of those burgers. This use of sexual reference is a very good example of logos because the creator uses the tactic of testing men’s pride. A great amount of a man’s pride comes from his sexual endowments. Here in this article those endowments are being tested from the standpoint of almost saying, “Are you man enough to eat this burger? ” The ethos of this ad though is low. Usually it is not right to take advantage of someone’s greatest weakness, which is done here to men.
But, because of the ongoing battle between fast food chains today, it is important to take advantage of any weakness the consumer may have in order to win their business. The role of this Carl’s Jr. advertisement is an excellent example of how the world views food and the lack of respect for it. The statement made in the text is a crude, humorous, cliche joke that has been a little over used. The advertiser shows not only his level of maturity, but also the maturity of the consumers that fall for this trick. It is not just what the words say on the ad that makes it wrong, but what the words imply.
This underlying reference towards sex is probably the lowest advertisers could reach to appeal to their targeted consumers. Where in a hamburger does someone get sexual aspirations? There is nothing sexy or in any way appealing of someone eating a giant, messy hamburger. For people to be satisfied in their food because it is advertised in this way is absurd and disrespectful not only to the food itself, but also the people who prepared it. In this particular Carl’s Jr. ad, all that is shown is the glorious end product of a long line of “dirty work”, and the middleman who did that work is forgotten.
If people had to go back to the days when the meal had to provided without the help industry, there would be a whole new level of respect for those who work to produce those foods. The hunter/ gatherer group was allowed to see a small portion of what steps it takes to get a meal on the table from the very beginning. The greatest dilemma that they faced was finding enough food, and in the beginning, having food at all. Although this was a great obstacle, it also gave the group a sense of accomplishment when they had conquered the task producing a complete meal without the help of anything but nature.
This way of life is how people had to do it before there were any industrial food chains. It has almost become a lost art. Pollan explains this when he says, “Now there are some people (though not all that many of them anymore) for whom such a radically self-made meal exists firmly in the realm of possibility. I am not one of them” (277). He uses himself as an example of this loss of culture and heritage. In this advertisement of the Carl’s Jr. Super Star with cheese, many things can be taken from the simple picture of the burger and the text.
The fast food industry has ruined people because they have all the food they need at a quick cheap price, and unfortunately this has caused people to take the life necessity of food for granted. People have perverted the food industry with their lack of respect for food and themselves through the food they eat and the way that food is sometimes advertised. Industrial food chains make their ads look so perfect and tasty, but unfortunately, the real thing is nowhere near what is advertised. Fast food is a trick that everyone is falling for. This quick food blinds people to the hard work it takes to get the meal from the field to the table.
Courtney from Study Moose
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